One of the many things I love about having access to wild land is the ability to forage.
On a walk the other day, I came home with blackberries, a few raspberries (the last of the season), wild grapes, and a big pile of staghorn sumac drupes
(not to be confused with poison sumac).
I passed by apples, plums, and crab-apples still thriving from when there used to be houses in what is now flood land. The berries I ate immediately after snapping a quick photo. The sumac and the grapes have been turned into other deliciousnesses.
I grew up knowing the staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) as a wild shrub and only knew of using the drupes as perfect material for smoking bees when opening a hive. Recently I came across a brief reference to Sumac Lemonade and had to know more!
Turns out I had been living near a delicious treasure all these years!
Collect 15 to 20 clean staghorn sumac drupes.
Spread them out and remove any critters.
Soak in water for 24 hours.
Strain, sweeten to taste, and enjoy!
The final sumac juice is very tart like lemon juice and has a wonderful complex flavor that almost reminds me of a rooibos (red tea) lemonade. A concentrate of the sumac juice freezes well for longer enjoyment.
Stay tuned for wild grapes!